Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on the final night of the party's convention on Thursday, saying President Donald Trump has "cloaked America in darkness" and urged voters to make a change.Biden, who'd unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008 before serving two terms as vice president under President Barack Obama, said the United States is facing four converging crises: a global pandemic, an economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change.
"This is a life-changing election that will determine America's future for a very long time," he said, speaking via video from his home state of Delaware. "Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy. They're all on the ballot."
Biden took aim at Trump, saying he has brought "too much anger, too much fear, too much division" to the White House and vowed to serve as "an ally of light" if elected.
"While I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn't support me as I will for those who did," Biden said. "That's the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment."
Biden pledged to combat climate change, defend Social Security and Medicare, stand with U.S. allies while not "cozying up to dictators" and questioned whether this will be the generation that "finally wipes the stain of racism from our national character."
"Under President Biden, America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Nor will I put up with foreign interference in our most sacred democratic exercise -- voting," he said.
"America's history tells us that it has been in our darkest moments that we've made our greatest progress. That we've found the light. And in this dark moment, I believe we are poised to make great progress again. That we can find the light once more.
"Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation. He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable. As president, I will make you this promise: I will protect America. I will defend us from every attack. Seen. And unseen. Always. Without exception. Every time."
Biden's speech closed the four-day convention, which was held mostly remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Every American must now decide. Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black Lives Matter? Will we handle questions of science and medicine by turning to scientists and doctors? What will we do to make America into a land where no one who works full time can live in poverty?" said Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., also spoke. All three were at one time under consideration to be Biden's running mate before he selected Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
"We know how important it is that we elect real servant leaders, leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris -- people of honor and integrity, who hold justice close to their hearts and believe that the lives of my four Black children matter," Bottoms said.
The theme for Thursday's events was "America's Promise." The Chicks and John Legend were among the performers.
Biden will face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. The Republican Convention is scheduled for Monday through Thursday.